In the UK today, wind farms are the most developed technology for the large scale production of renewable energy offshore. Given their position away from land-based urban development, offshore wind farms can be more substantial in terms of their area and power generation, compared to their land-based counterparts. Public support for offshore wind farms is generally high, particularly where evidence is presented through the formal consenting and consultation processes that developments are sited in an appropriate location, where environmental and negative economic effects are minimal or can be effectively managed.
Integral to offshore wind farm development is the installation, operation and maintenance of the supporting electrical infrastructure of intra-array and export cables. This document aims to provide an information resource, intended for use by wind farm developers, consultants and regulators, on the range of cable installation techniques available, their likely environmental effects and potential mitigation, drawing on wind farm and other marine industry practice and experience. Through the collation of existing information and experience from a range of sources, the report will assist government, developers, stakeholders and regulators during the formal Environmental Impact Assessment and consenting process including stages of information provision, review and approval of such information. Importantly, an understanding of the difficulties and constraints of cable installation has been provided such that impacts can be avoided, reduced or minimised. This document also deals with the practical application of the installation and mitigation techniques available to developers so that the most relevant and up-to-date technology can be applied in the most appropriate situation.